With the college football season in full swing, I have seemed to be fielding more questions that relate to unofficial visits as of late. These unofficial visits are something that I strongly recommend and something that I feel will give you a better feel with regards to what a school has to offer.
So with that in mind, I am going to use this article to give readers a low down on unofficial visits, the importance of them for you, for the college, and touch on a variety of other areas as well. This includes if a college coach will move on to another recruit if you don’t show.
I think the best place to start is a definition of an unofficial visit. This is a trip where you will be paying for travel, accommodations, and most of the food yourself. The school will give you three tickets to the game and if you are really lucky, they will feed you as well. Being fed by the coaches depends on the specific school.
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Again, you will be paying a big chunk of change if there is travel involved so keep that in mind before heading on an unofficial that you must fly to. For the record, I would avoid taking unofficial visits to programs that are over four hours away by car unless they have offered. The reason is because you could be spending hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars for what turns out to be nothing. You may fall in love with the school but if they don’t extend a scholarship, it won’t matter. That is why it is vital to stay close to home for these unofficial visits, unless of course they have already offered.
So who gets invited to these unofficial visits? I hate to say it but basically anyone and everyone on the recruiting database for that school. I recently was told by a recruit who went on an unofficial visit that one of the coaches told them that there were 120 recruits in attendance. Again, these are the athletes who actually took the time to make the trip. If 120 actually made it to campus, I would gather that at least 300 received invites. Let me stress the at least part of that statement.
The reason why colleges try to bring so many athletes onto campus is because unless they have offered, they don’t want to burn bridges with potential recruits. My example is this. Say you are a junior and you put together a great sophomore year. You have been on a number of recruiting databases but no schools have offered yet. State University knows you are good but are still not sure if you can play at that level.
The reason they try to bring you onto campus is just in case you blow up. If you do really make strides as a junior and show that you are scholarship worthy, these coaches know that you have been to their school and had an opportunity to see the game day atmosphere. These visits are vital for coaches because many feels that half the battle is getting an athlete on campus.
Imagine the same scenario for a junior athlete who did not receive any game day invites. When he eventually blows up on the recruiting scene, the coaches at State University would have a tougher time getting into the picture because they haven’t met him, brought him on campus, and tried to sell them what their school has to offer. This is the exact reason why Division II schools usually only offer scholarships when an athlete takes an official visit. Getting them to come to their school cannot be more vital overall in the recruiting process for athletes that they seriously hope to land.
What happens if I can’t make the trip? While coaches love seeing all athletes in-attendance, there is no doubt in my mind that they also understand that making visits is not easy for athletes. They know that the players have their own season, school, family, and other areas that are a huge priority. Getting to games is important but no, they are not going to suddenly stop recruiting you simply because you were unable to attend. I would let them know that you appreciated the offer but can’t say reasons A, B, and C. Chances are that the coaches will want you to come back in the future, and with every school having a lot of home games, you should be able to get more tickets.
In wrapping up, unofficial visits again are the ones that you are paying for out of pocket. Don’t expect the school to reimburse you because it just won’t happen. It is also important to reiterate that taking unofficial visits to school far away from home are usually a waste of time and money unless the school has offered. Unless there is a huge game that you want to see because you are a fan of college football (ie: Florida-Georgia, Oklahoma-Texas, USC-UCLA), spending big time money does not mean anything will come of it. That is why I would make sure that there is a scholarship on the table before you go take an in-depth look at schools outside of a four hour driving radius.